Ever wondered what it would be like to hang out with Mickey Mantle in his prime? Did you envision lots of talk revolving around booze and women? Good, 'cause your daydream was spot on.
This from Big League Stew's interview with Phillies coach Charlie Manuel:
DB: Why did Billy Martin pick you to be the guy to entertain Mickey Mantle whenever he visited the Twin Cities?
CM: [Laughs]. Because I was a rookie and I wasn't going to play the next day, so he told me this, and they [Billy and Mickey] took me with them. They were teaching me how to be rookie. I was supposed to sit there and keep my mouth shut. I didn't get to talk. They bought me drinks [laughs]. So, Billy got up and left and — since I wasn't playing the next day — he told me to stay there with Mickey [laughs]. That was pretty good. I had just moved into this apartment (in Minnesota) and he went home with me. He was good. He didn't saying nothing about hitting [laughs].
DB: What did you guys talk about?
CM: We talked about drinking and other things. Mother Nature things [laughs]. I got to know Mickey pretty good. He'd always come over — if I was playing — and say hello to me, holler at me.
There's the difference between Mantle and Ted Williams (that I've totally made up in my head and may not be true): Off-the-field, Mickey liked to talk about off-the-field stuff. Like drinking and womanizing. Williams just talked about hitting all the time. That's the first thing baseball people say whenever Williams' name comes up. You could just pick his brain for HOURS about hitting. He's the guy from your office you meet for happy hour who spends three hours talking about work. No one likes hanging out with that guy.
Williams also called every "Bush," according to Manuel. That doesn't help matters.